The Washington Post and the US edition of The Guardian have been jointly awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for journalism. They won in the Public Service Journalism category for their work exposing the surveillance programme conducted by the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA), thanks to secret documents provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Snowden’s revelations revealed that the NSA had been conducting wide-ranging surveillance of American citizens’ emails and phone calls in an effort to thwart terrorism. Due to the sensitive nature of the information leaked, Snowden has been charged with espionage, and faces up to 30 years in prison should the American authorities catch up with him. He has been granted asylum in Russia, where he currently resides.
Reporters Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald from The Guardian US and The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman were the recipients of the award.
Their work “helped stimulate the very important discussion about the balance between privacy and security, and that discussion is still going on,” said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.
As a result of the public outrage inspired by Poitras, Greenwald and Gellman’s work, US president Barack Obama imposed limitations on what data the NSA can and can’t collect.